Only about 25% of Americans now say they would give up their “basic civil liberties” in exchange for security—a huge decrease from the days after the September 11 attacks, according to a new USA Today/Gallup Poll. In January of 2002, close to half of respondents (47%) were willing to trade rights for security. Now, sentiment has decisively shifted. “The government’s into everything—pat-downs at the airport. We don’t need any more interference in our lives,” one respondent said.
The years have also seen big drops in Americans’ faith in US counterterrorism—just 24% now say they trust the government “a great deal” to keep them safe, down from 41% after the attacks. And despite the death of Osama bin Laden, just 42% said the US was winning the war on terror, almost the exact same percentage who thought that in October 2001. “The terrorists didn’t win here,” said one Montana mayor. But “we never thought this’d be going on 10 years later.”